The day after she yanked a cellphone from a texting theatergoer's hands, Patti LuPone addressed the audience before a performance of Shows for Days, saying: "The reason is why I'm here is to ask all of you to whip out those cellphones... turn them off and come to the theater."
On Wednesday, July 8th, attendees of the Lincoln Center Theater play gleefully watched the Broadway diva remove the offending cellphone, Tweeting, "I saw Patti LuPone deliver her scene exit line tonight at Lincoln Center & SNATCH A CELL PHONE OUT OF AN AUDIENCE MEMBER'S HAND." and "That moment when you see #pattilupone walk off with a girl's cell during the beginning of Act II cuz she was texting." LuPone issued this statement after the incident:
She also described the moment to the NY Times
We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else - the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage. I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshall the audience as well as perform.
, "This woman — a very pretty young woman — was sitting with her boyfriend or husband. We could see her text. She was so uninterested. She showed her husband what she was texting. We talked about it at intermission. When we went out for the second act I was very close to her, and she was still texting. I watched her and thought, 'What am I going to do?' At the very end of that scene, we all exit. What I normally do is shake the hand of the people in the front row. I just walked over to her, shook her hand and took her phone. I walked offstage and handed it to the stage manager, who gave it to the house manager."
In this video, LuPone reenacted the snatching:
The phone was eventually returned to the woman, but LuPone said of her and other idiots who can't stop using their devices, "I don’t know why they buy the ticket or come to the theater if they can’t let go of the phone. It’s controlling them. They can’t turn it off and can’t stop looking at it. They are truly inconsiderate, self-absorbed people who have no public manners whatsoever. I don’t know what to do anymore. I was hired as an actor, not a policeman of the audience."
We really would love to hear what LuPone thinks of the Juice Jackal, a Long Island man who recently tried to charge his phone using an outlet on the stage of Hand to God. He explained, "I didn’t realize that the stage is considered off limits."